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Page last updated at 18:54 GMT, Monday, 31 January 2011
Homelessness in Birmingham rises by 140%
Youth homelessness
Youth homelessness in Birmingham is on the rise.

Birmingham has seen a 140% rise in the number of homeless cases since January 2010 according to youth charity YMCA.

Two years ago Birmingham City Council claimed there was only four rough sleepers in the city.

Recent figures reveal more than one in ten of the 723 homeless applications lodged in the city in July were from 16 and 17-year-olds.

A new multi-million pound youth facility is currently being developed in Erdington.

The YMCA facility will house 83 self-contained flats, a nursery, community hall, youth centre and meeting rooms.

Alan Fraser, CEO of Birmingham YMCA told BBC WM that they are seeing a higher demand on their services and the situation is getting worse.

"A lot of effort has been made over the last 10 - 15 years to see rough sleeping in the city reduced and it's been successful. However in the last couple of years we've seen the situation go backwards with an increase in rough sleepers and people in temporary accommodation."

Youth unemployment crisis

Birmingham has some of the highest UK figures in youth unemployment.

Mr Fraser commented: "There is a real crisis with young people and youth unemployment, people can't get jobs and so can't access affordable accommodation in the private sector."

A national campaign called Poverty and Homelessness Action week will take place between 28 January - 6 February and aims to raise awareness of homelessness and poverty within the UK.

Sleeping rough fundraiser

YMCA Sleep Easy
Taking part in the Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield YMCA Sleep Easy.

On Saturday 29th January, Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield YMCA hosted a sponsored sleep out fundraising event as part of Poverty and Homelessness Action week.

People slept outdoors on carparks in cardboard boxes despite sub-zero temperatures, in an effort to raise funds for their local YMCA as part of the national Sleep Easy campaign.

Over 80 people joined the sleep out which raised over £4,000.

Sutton Coldfield YMCA project co-ordinator Heidi Bentley says the fundraising event was success: "It was a brilliant night and everyone had loads of fun despite the freezing weather.

"It was a chance for people to come together and support their local YMCA. The money raised will go towards our work with residents and young people."

Supporting young people

YMCA is a national charity representing 135 facilities and projects supporting young people at every stage of their lives. From providing housing, training and sports and health facilities to supporting young people and their families.


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